When traveling the Alaska Highway and looking for a nice spot to stretch your legs, Whirlpool Canyon is a great option approximately 65 kilometers north of the Liard River Hot Springs. Situated in a narrow braided channel on the mighty Liard River, water flow slams into a series of shale banks and twists and turns through the canyon, churning up daunting whirlpools and eddies that are no place for boats or canoes.
The canyon is best viewed from the safety of the shore, and there is a parking area located just off the Alaska Highway that will lead to a short pathway down to the river bed. Walking to the left will lead up a to a higher vantage point above the canyon, and visitors will get a good perspective of the power of the great northern river. Use caution when walking along the cliffs above the canyon because there are no barriers or guard rails in place.
The Liard River flows through the Yukon, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories before entering the Mackenzie, where its flow is destined for the Arctic Ocean. It was instrumental in developing the north during the fur trade era, and it has been used as a mode of transportation for First Nations since time immemorial. Whirlpool Canyon is a great place to view the Liard River at its best. The area also features a good abundance of wood bison that are mostly found in this part of British Columbia.
Special Notes: There is no signage indicating where to turn off the highway to access Whirlpool Canyon. When traveling north from the Liard Hot Springs, the parking lot will be located on the left side of the highway approximately 9 kilometers past the Coal River bridge. The parking area is quite large and suitable for larger RV traffic or trailers.